Programmers at St George’s Bristol are on a radical mission to introduce a younger generation to classical music this season.

Meurig Bowen, best known for his role as former Director of the Cheltenham Music Festival, launched Classical Mixtape Live 1 on 1 February.

The event is his brainchild, inspired by the ‘old school’ Mixtape – where people put together their own mix of music on cassette – before the advent of CDs, MP3 Players, Spotify and the ‘Now That’s What I Call Music’ compilation albums.

Meurig Bowen invited four young international stars, who were also joined by Bristol choir Exultate and their director David Ogden:

  • Saxophonist Amy Dickson
  • Cellist and ‘BBC Young Musician of the Year’ Laura Van Der Heijden
  • Violinist Daniel Pioro
  • Pianist Adam Heron, who recently left Wells Cathedral School

Follow the link (https://flic.kr/s/aHsmxQuhpT) to view photographer Evan Dawson’s atmospheric record of the evening.

Unlike any other classical concert performed at St George’s, audience members were invited to experience classical music in an ultra relaxed environment. They took in their drinks, kept their phones on for social media, and could stay standing or even lie down.

 

For the more conservative concertgoer, keen to hear and watch the musicians perform, there were seats upstairs in the gallery.

Music on offer included Bach, Beethoven Chopin, Satie, Tavener, Biber, Saint-Saens,  Rachmaninoff and Eric Whitacre.

Meurig Bowen said: “It was ideal for those keen to give classical a go, but not sure where to start. Aimed at removing some of the barriers people associate with a typical classical music event, it was a less formal concert experience, varied in musical content, featuring multiple performance stations – think along the lines of the ‘Later… with Jools Holland’ format.

“You could keep your phones on, bring in drinks, share videos on social media whilst still fully engaging with the performances and listening intently.”

Classical Mixtape Live was based on a concept first introduced by Meurig Bowen for the Cheltenham Music Festival and performed at Tewkesbury Abbey.

 

Comments from Bristol Bloggers included:

“Magical moments last night” Heather Cowper

“I took two teens last night and we all had the most wonderful time!” Lifestyle District

“That was an amazing, beautiful evening. I’ve never ever heard such wonderful acoustics in a hall. The audience on ground, a perfect choreography. All the music & singing was so uplifting.” Olive Bridget

“Mesmerising performances.” Eliza Moreland